Graz can look back on a long tradition as a fair location and be proud of it. Austria's first fair, the 'Blumen- und Industriefest' [Flower and Industry Fair] was held in the Styrian capital Graz in 1833. It thus became the starting point of a highly successful development.
At the turn of the century, i.e. from 1906 onwards, the Grazer Messe established itself as a 'Sample and Goods Show' and paved the way for Austria's largest and most popular public fair. Continuing into the 20th century, until the fall of the Iron Curtain, Grazer Messe was an important link between East and West, and today, at the centre of the expanding European Community, it continues to play an important role as the gateway to South-East Europe.
The 100th anniversary
The genial idea of founding Grazer Messe was suitably celebrated when it reached its 100th anniversary in 2006 when the province's largest birthday party attracted more than 130,000 visitors.
Present and future
The eventful history of Messe Graz proves one should never lose sight of the future and therefore all its investments took place with this in mind. Messe Graz thus successfully repositioned itself as a trade fair and with the construction of the state-of-the-art event centre, the surrounding district experienced a welcome revival. Today, Messe Congress Graz BetriebsgesmbH offers the perfect environment for events of all kinds on an international level and has thus become one of the flagships of Graz.
In 2002, the infrastructure of the fair was extended to include the new Stadthalle, Austria's most modern multi-purpose hall, with an investment of 39m Euro, and in 2005, the enhanced conference centre (the new messecongress) was inaugurated. The new fair pavilion added an additional architectural attraction to the exhibition grounds (the total investment, including messecongress amounted to 58m Euro).
Graz relies on a dual strategy
On the one hand, the showpiece of the era of large public fairs, the GRAZER HERBSTMESSE [Autumn Fair] is continued, and on the other hand, the organisers pursue the international trend of more specialised trade fairs. In addition, the impact of the new fair and congress centre is being used to accelerate the overall development with the help of so-called 'convention fairs'.